FRANZ DE PAULA ADAM, GRAF VON WALDSTEIN (1759-1823) and PL KITAIBEL (1757-1817)
Descriptiones et icones plantarum rariorium Hungariae. Vienna: Matthias Andreas Schmidt, -1802-1805-. 3 volumes, 2 (466 x 333mm). Sepia aquatint view by Bischer, 279 (of 280) hand-coloured etched and engraved plates, some with stipple, 15 double-page, by Johann Schtz (nos. 1-37) and his son Karl (38-280). (Lacking plate 279, endpapers spotted, light spotting to plates 1, 101, and 278, plate 143 with small ink stain, a few plates trimmed by the binder affecting image or signature in a very few cases only.) 19th-century russia backed boards, green lettering-pieces (extremities and covers lightly rubbed, volume 3 neatly rebacked with russia).
RARE. ONE OF THE EARLIEST WORKS WITH COLOURED PLATES OF HUNGARY, AND 'KITAIBEL'S MAJOR PUBLISHED WORK IN BOTANY' (Johnston). According to Nissen the work was issued in 28 'decades', each presumably with 10 plates and accompanying text. The wrappers to the first three parts were dated 1800, whilst those of the last were dated 1812. The title-pages in this copy are dated 1802 (vol. 1) and 1805 (vols II and III). Waldstein was the economic and driving force behind this splendid project to record Hungary's flora and fauna, although Waldstein's 'multiplicia impedimenta' prevented completion of the work. Kitaibel was responsible for the text, and it is as much a monument to his accomplishment as a botanist as it is to the Golden Age of Viennese botanty and botanical book production. Kitaibel was professor of Botany at the University of Pest and the collections he formed on his many tours through his homeland, collecting botanical, mineralogical, and zoological specimens, formed the basis of the natural history collection of the Hungarian National Museum. In this way and through his published work Kitaibel made a substantial contribution to Hungarian Natural History: he 'classified more than 50 unknown plants ... [and] recorded and named several species of animals (DSB). Johnston 678; Nissen BBI 2096; Stafleu & Cowan 16560, Pritzel 9939, Dunthorne 325; Stiftung 801; Brunet V 1403. (3)